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October 13, 2017

Svendsen’s Relocating to Richmond

Svendsen’s Boat Works —an institution in Alameda for 54 years — is relocating. The yard will close its gates in Alameda on November 3, and reopen in Richmond in January. The Chandlery will remain at its current location for the time being.

Closing their gates. Svendsen’s Boat Works will relocate to Richmond, and close their Alameda operations at the beginning of November.

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"Beginning January 1 2018, Svendsen’s renowned team of experienced boatwrights, riggers and metal fabricators will join forces with Bay Marine Boatworks in Richmond to become the premier boat repair facility in Northern California," a press release from the boatyard said. Bay Maritime, the owner of Bay Marine Boatworks and Bay Ship & Yacht in Alameda, bought all the divisions of Svendsen’s, including Svendsen’s Marine Distributing, as well as Svendsen’s Rigging Shop and Svendsen’s Metal Works.

"We have plans to move all of the capabilities and many of the employees of Svendsen’s," said Sam Elliott, Svendsen’s Boat Works General Manager, adding that combining the yards will increase Svendsen’s ability to service most of the pleasure craft in the Bay Area. "We’re going to have more capabilities," Elliott said. "We’ll have better service overall. We really think that the sum of the two yards will be better than what they were separately. Unfortunately, we can’t stay in the Alameda Marina due to the development," Elliott added, referring to the proposed expansion of the Alameda Marina.

Svendsen’s has been in Alameda since 1963.

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The press release also said that the "soon to be combined facility in Richmond will include an expansion of Bay Marine’s existing boatyard with use of recently acquired land, as well as state-of-the-art environmental improvements. The site will also include a new marine store presently in the planning stage."

CORRECTION: This story originally said that Svendsen’s would be closing at the end of November. The boatyard will close its Alameda location November 3, and reopen in Richmond on January 1. 

TIDA Postpones Clipper Cove Marina Vote

Should Clipper Cove be a home for mega yachts? How much of the Cove should be made available for public use, such as lessons, racing and cruising?

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Board of Directors of the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA), President V. Fei Tsen opened with the big news of the day: there would be no vote on approving the 66-year lease on the proposed expansion at Clipper Cove Marina. The vote would occur at a to-be-determined future date, with community input, Tsen said.

Clipper Cove has long been a haven for small boats in tempestuous San Francisco Bay. Some advocates of small-boat and community sailing worry that a proposed marina expansion project could infringe on this coveted piece of water.  

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In the audience, the room was crowded with several dozen members of the public waiting to weigh in on the development. The current marina plan before TIDA proposes 313 40-, 50-, 60-, 70- and 80-plus-ft slips, with an average length of 53 feet. Estimates of the marina’s footprint on the water vary: it could be 15% or it could be 32%.

First came presentations by Treasure Island Enterprises (TIE), the marina’s developer, which has operated the existing marina under an interim sublease since 2000, as well as Treasure Island Sailing Center (TISC). TIE stressed the compromises they have made based on community input, and the agreement they reached with TISC in 2016. TISC presented not only details of their past and present sailing, STEM and leadership programs with Bay Area children, but also a glimpse at their vision for how a 66-year lease would let them grow with expanded land facilities.

But a pointed question by Tsen to TISC Executive Director Travis Lund got to the heart of the matter concerning development: Would TISC be able to safely run their programs on the water if the new marina development was built? With TISC Foundation board chair Carisa Harris-Adamson unable to attend the meeting, it was up to Lund to carefully articulate the answer: yes and no.

Lund reiterated Harris-Adamson’s previous published statement that the compromise was reached in good faith, to prevent the larger marina plan that would have annihilated safe sailable space at Clipper Cove, killing TISC’s programs. Under the current marina plan, TISC’s programs could continue — but they would be severely impacted, as would both youth and adult racing and adult cruising at the protected Cove.

Comments by the public included both support and opposition to the development. Members of local construction unions showed up to say they favored starting the project as soon as possible. A smattering of Treasure Island residents and representatives from island organizations said they were also in favor of moving forward. Anti forces included the Sierra Club, with Becky Evans voicing concern about the eelgrass and changes in sedimentation in the cove.

But much of the feedback came from sailors. Some were concerned about losing access to one of the only protected sailing areas in the Bay. Several were from Friends of the Sailing Center, who said community sailing would be gravely impacted and TISC wouldn’t be able to operate their programs safely.

The proposed length of the slips dominated much of the discussion. Having no slips under 40 feet shuts out existing tenants and doesn’t cater to the smaller sailboats that are the heart of the Bay Area sailing community, one current tenant said. There was vehement opposition to turning Clipper Cove into mega yacht storage. There was concern that larger slips would stay empty because there is no fuel dock at Clipper Cove and few bikini bathing opportunities in San Francisco Bay.

Absent were the mega-yacht customers saying docks of that size are needed. How would professional yacht captains feel about maneuvering their vessels around young kids in Optis?

Stay tuned.

For notices of future meetings, go here. Information on opposition to the project is available here.

YRA Racer Social: VHF and DSC

For the last couple of years, the Yacht Racing Association has been organizing occasional Racer Socials.  The next one, coming up next Thursday, October 19, will cover "All you ever wanted to know about VHF marine radios and DSC." Encinal Yacht Club in Alameda will host from 7 to 9 p.m.

This late-model handheld, waterproof VHF radio is equipped with GPS and DSC.


"The summer racing season has wound down, which means more opportunities to build your sailing knowledge and skills ahead of next year," writes Laura Muñoz of the YRA. Eric Steinberg of Farallon Electronics and Andy Newell from OYRA will speak, and a representative from the USCG will be there for a DSC (Digital Selective Calling) demonstration.

Topics will include:

  • What radios are available that have DSC functionality?
  • How do I use DSC?
  • What happens when DSC is used?
  • How do I get GPS into my house radio that has DSC but does not have built-in GPS?
  • CoAx requirements
  • How do I get electronics from different manufacturers to talk to each other?
  • How do I build a NMEA 2000 network?
  • How do I get devices that only support NMEA 0186 onto a NMEA 2000 network?

Tickets are $20, and the event is open to all. For more into or to register, click here.

Joan Storer Race Smoked Out

In Wednesday’s ‘Lectronic Latitude, we previewed Tiburon Yacht Club’s Joan Storer Regatta, scheduled for tomorrow, October 14. But TYC has decided to postpone the women’s/coed race. This announcement appears on the TYC website: "As we pray for our friends and neighbors in Sonoma and Napa counties, we also are concerned about the unhealthy air quality resulting from the devastating fires. Therefore, we have decided to reschedule the regatta and the party until a later date. Currently we are considering Saturday, October 21, or Saturday, November 4. We will have the same festivities (food, music, and hosted bar), and we do hope you will be able to join us then. The new date will be announced shortly. Thank you for your understanding."

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